A Great Big Halibut Tail

Everyone loves a monster fish story, and when I called James last Friday, he told me about a giant halibut they’d got in…

“Normally, a big halibut is something like 30 kilo, but when I went to my supplier and asked for something of that size, she came back to me with a 50 kilo fish, which I then paid for. However, a few minutes later she changed her mind and said she actually had a 65 kilo fish fresh off the boat and ready for me. We’d run out of halibut so I jumped at the chance.

And let me tell you this was one incredible fish. Have a look at the photos I’m going to send you for proof.”

I dare anyone to say James isn’t right…all the photos below are clickable, and will take you direct to buy halibut fillets.

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Three proud men and one enormous halibut!

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As for the price, let’s just say that this specimen cost as much as a decent car! But then, for a fish that took 4 people to lift it onto the boat, that’s probably what you’d expect.

James told me about the filleting process:

“It took 2 people to cut it up, me and Mark. I would say that between us we spent about 10 hours doing just this one fish. You get the fillets off the bone – which takes about half-an-hour – then you cut them up neatly, weigh and pack them, and it takes quite a long time to make it all nice and neat and ready for sale.

“It was a fantastic quality fish as well, caught in Norway. These fish have tags, depending on how long they’ve been out of the water, so you always know exactly what you’re getting. And really the fastest you can get a Norwegian fish into this country from the water is 2 days. This fish couldn’t have been much fresher than that – it arrived on the 3rd day.”

“A shame to cut it up, isn’t it?” I said, and James agreed. Although if he always thought like that, of course, he wouldn’t have a business to wake up to.

“Now, let me tell you how many potions we got off it…”

While James was adding them up, I guessed “80?”

“Not even close,” he replied, chuckling. “There were 220 fillet steaks in total. Then we also got off it 13 packs of engawa – which is a specialist sushi item. That’s the fin muscles, which have a fairly special texture. Then, on top of that, we had 11 packs of miss shapes, and that alone was 2.5 kilo. Lastly, we had ventresca sushi…”

Just as I was wondering what James had meant by special texture, he said this: “…I told you the engawa had a good texture…it’s, well, a little bit chewy. I’ve eaten a lot of it so I should know! You eat it raw and have to test it as you go along, so I ended up eating halibut all morning. So we’ve got some packs which I’ve called extra chewy, because some Japanese people do go for that kind of thing.

So the steaks alone, that’s some 220 portions. I would say that, all told, that fish is going to feed 270 people.”

Head over to The Fish Society to search for these items, which should be on sale very soon.

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And there we have it: the finished product!

And there we have it: the finished product!

Once I’d got over all this big fish madness, I asked James if they’d be able to do anything with the fins, seeing as I knew they ate a lot of fins in Japan. James told me that they’d be throwing them away, but that in Japan that would never happen, as they always endeavour to use every part of the fish, including the skeleton (the phrase he actually used was “…In Japan they’d probably hung, draw and quarter us for throwing away the fins and skeleton!).

And that concludes this week’s halibut tail (sorry…). Next week, pike is on the menu. Stay tuned for more…although I can’t guarantee there won’t be a bad pun here and there!

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